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An Old Friend

June 2024
1min read

Reading “Colonel McCormick’s War” in the April 2000 American Heritage and turning to page 96, I saw an old friend pictured. Then I read the caption. While the tank is indeed a “Chaffee” (named after Maj. Gen. Adna R. Chaffee), it is not an M-26 but an M-24; the M-26 was the “Pershing.” The Chaffee came into the war rather late, first seeing major action in the Battle of the Bulge. Classed as a light tank, it was armed with a 75mm cannon and thus easily outgunned many medium tanks of the era. Further, being powered by twin Cadillac engines, it went from zero to 40plus mph very quickly. It could quite literally shoot and scoot.

I joined the Army in 1950 and, after basic training, was sent to Fort Knox for armor training. All of us thus engaged expected to immediately be sent to Korea. Some did go. However, about 20 of us were kept at Fort Knox and became instructors on the M-4 Sherman — a machine that I hated —and on the M-24. We were all eventually sent to Korea. I wound up in the 64th Tank Battalion—in the reconnaissance platoon as a gunner on an M-24!

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